How to Prepare for the Adoption Process as a Step-Parent in Michigan
Adopting your step-child can be a momentous occasion for you, the child, and your family overall. Besides the legal benefits your step-child will obtain through the process, adoption represents you accepting them into your life and them seeing you as a parental figure in theirs. You simply do not happen upon an adoption without a considerable investment of love into your relationship with your step-child.
Once you have made the decision to adopt your step-child, though, you’ll quickly learn that the adoption process requires its own hefty investments of time and energy. With that being said, knowing what to expect as you navigate the adoption process can help you manage your feelings when inevitable challenges arise.
Things to Consider Before Starting the Adoption Process
When you and your spouse make the decision to adopt your step-child, understand that you are embarking on a process that can be equal parts lengthy and challenging. Consider the following at the outset to ensure you are prepared for the journey ahead:
Make Sure You Have the Documents You Need Available
A Michigan family law attorney can provide you with a list of all the documents you will need, but as a rule of thumb, gather certified copies of documents such as your step-child’s birth certificate, your marriage certificate, and the divorce decree between the child’s biological parents.
Ascertain Whether You Can Adopt Your Step-Child
Not everyone is eligible to adopt their step-child in Michigan. If you have a conviction for certain felony offenses, such as felony child abuse or neglect, homicide, or spousal abuse, you may be disqualified from adopting. If you have a criminal history of any sort, it is a good idea to talk with a family law attorney about your eligibility to adopt before getting too far into the process and ending up denied custodial rights.
Anticipate Challenges from the Other Biological Parent
If your step-child’s other biological parent is still living, you should prepare yourself for having to contend with their parental rights as part of the adoption process. If the other parent is not willing to consent to the adoption, you will need to find a way to terminate that parent’s rights through an adversarial court proceeding in order to have the adoption proceed.
Prepare for a Long Road Ahead
Even after you clear these initial hurdles, the adoption process requires various investigations and checks before a judge will approve the adoption, which all take time. Make sure that you, your spouse, and your step-child are all committed to seeing the process through to the end.
Get a Michigan Family Law Attorney’s Help with Your Case
If you are preparing to adopt your step-child, speaking with an experienced adoption attorney from The Gucciardo Law Firm in Michigan can be a great way to start the process off right. We will look at where you are in the process, help you understand what your next actions will look like, and keep you informed every step of the way.
Call Gucciardo Family Law today and request a free consultation so we can discuss your situation and how we can help you navigate the adoption process.
Too much information?
We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.